R Jeffrey Smith and Joby Warrick of The Washington Post (WP) are habitual baiters of Pakistan's nuclear programme and spare no opportunity in trying to dig up dirt to discredit Pakistan. It is evident that their diatribe against Pakistan's nuclear programme is sponsored by vested interests and is always timed to achieve some ulterior motive. Take for example their November 13, 2009, Op-Ed A nuclear power's act of proliferation, maligning China in the alleged nuclear proliferation issue vis--vis Pakistan, which was published on the eve of President Barack Obama's historic visit to China on November 15, 2009, specifically to embarrass his hosts. That is another story that China's deft diplomacy did not permit the US president to gain the upper hand in their parleys. Warrick's expos of March 10, 2010, titled Saddam Hussein weighed nuclear 'package' deal in 1990, documents show and Pakistani scientist Khan describes Iranian efforts to buy nuclear bombs published in the WP on March 14, 2010, are such a blatant pieces of yellow journalism that they do not merit discussion; however if left unchecked, they will be quoted by bloggers and Op-Ed writers repeatedly. Thus, an attempt must be made to set the record straight. As a concerned Pakistani, after combing through the two stories mentioned above, my conclusion is that the first one must be thrown in the garbage can of history not only because it is an unsubstantiated and speculative trash coming 20 years after its alleged occurrence, but also because it is a stark reminder of the false premise used to invade Iraq. CNN's documentary Dead Wrong - Inside an Intelligence Meltdown of August 23, 2005, pieced together the events leading up to the mistaken WMD intelligence that was presented to the public. And also quotes a former top aide of then US Secretary of State Colin Powell stating that his speech delivered on February 5, 2003, which made the case for the war by presenting US intelligence to prove that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, was "the lowest point in his life." I rest my case regarding Warrick's purporting Pakistan's involvement with Iraq in transferring nuclear technology. In the March 14, 2010, story published by the WP 'sleuths', the entire case of Iranian attempts to buy atomic bombs from Pakistan at the end of 1980s is based on a speculative surmise of an 11 page "official account" written by Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan that "describes Iran's attempted purchase of nuclear weapons in a $10 billion deal." The authors name the then Army Chief General Mirza Aslam Beg as being "in favour of very close cooperation [with Iran] in the nuclear field in lieu of financial assistance promised to him toward Pakistan's defence budget." The plot gets thicker as the 'informed' authors disclose that Ali Shamkhani, a founding father of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, former Iranian military intelligence official and later defence minister, who had long been active in the nuclear weapons programme, came to Islamabad on a government plane to pick up three atom bombs. He met then Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Admiral Sirohey and demanded the finished nuclear weapons. When the admiral demurred, Shamkhani became irate. Under Beg's pressure, Dr Khan was asked to get components of two old (P-1) discarded centrifuges with two sets of drawings and hand them over to Shamkhani. Nevertheless, there are a number of loopholes in this piece of conjecture. The veracity of an 11 page "official document" is highly doubtful. The authors claim that the document was shared with WP by former British journalist Simon Henderson, now a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. This is a highly unlikely source. How did the "official account" reach him? Who vetted it and who actually authored it? Take the case of Shamkhani, the erudite authors describe him as "long been active in the nuclear weapons programme"; wouldn't he know better that finished atom bombs are not tennis or golf balls that you pick up from the shelf and carry in your executive government jet. Surely, Shamkhani would have greater sense and knowledge than that. Moreover, the authors at one stage claim that General Beg was a prime mover of the nuclear proliferation to benefit Iran but later admitted that "in an interview, Beg denied bartering nuclear weapons for cash. He said that when an Iranian delegation 'asked me about nuclear technology' in 1988, he advised discussing it with Bhutto." How does that make him complicit to nuclear proliferation? As regards naming Admiral Sirohey, the authors also confessed that the admiral did not recall the meeting "or ever hearing about a deal to sell nuclear weapons to Iran." This latest Op-Ed must be seen in the light of what the authors themselves admit, perhaps through a Freudian slip as their rationale for the timing of the disclosure. I quote from paragraph 4: "Khan's narrative calls into question Iran's longstanding stance that it has not sought nuclear arms." In the same vein, last month Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad maintained: "...we won't do that because we don't believe in having them." Surely, WP is building a case to pressurise Iran and, perhaps, even justify punitive action against it. The writer is a political and defence analyst.